Cuba 2015, 07-08

18 Mar
 

Cuba 2015, 07-08

Two days are combined into one blog here. You will see why…

Trinidad is great, and we look forward to a full day here.

We enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast at the hotel before heading out into the streets. For us, Cuba is about walking, exploring, and meeting people, finding photographs along the way. Meeting people is the best cultural exchange ever. You see them in their daily lives, get invited into their homes.

Arnie has found a good spot for the group shot, but we must hurry or the light will get harsh.

As we exit the hotel, however, we see a gorgeous Merc, 40s vintage, and chat with the owner. We are not quite sure where he got it, but it involved a ten-year restoration with his brother and father. Does his brother get to drive it, too? Oh no, his brother is a very bad driver. It turns out, this is the father of the bride, and as in so many countries, there is a very special car for the bride and groom.© 2015 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail TBC (at) BCphotoadventures (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time, GMT-5.

We still need to do the group shot, but it is like herding cats. We manage to get the people under the shady arcade of the government building. These photographs are always a fun remembrance of the adventure and the friendships made.

Several of us have items that the school across the plaza from the hotel can use. We meet the head of the school and one of the teachers, and they are thankful for the school supplies, soaps, etc. that will make their lives easier. Supplies in Cuba, after all, are often very hard to get.

We gather in the plaza and splinter off into smaller groups. Many people are heading out to a farm and viewpoint with Edel on the bus. After that, he will give them a walking tour of Trinidad. Others want to wander on their own, and a third group comes with Arnie and me.

There is a colorful building across the plaza that catches the eye of several of us. Normally, we do not feature skies, but this one is naturally polarized and adds color to the graphics of the image.© 2015 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail TBC (at) BCphotoadventures (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time, GMT-5.

A corner vegetable stand beckons. Painted in gay, Caribbean colors, it is enticing. Customers come and go, some on foot, some on bicycles.© 2015 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail TBC (at) BCphotoadventures (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time, GMT-5.

Bicycles are definitely a favored mode of transportation in Trinidad. It is cheap, and there is a repair shop around the corner if a tire needs to be fixed. I loved the colors here.© 2015 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail TBC (at) BCphotoadventures (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time, GMT-5.

After walking the more modest section of town, we head up the hill to the historic section. A man is working on a ’57 Ford. My mother had one, and I am trying to imagine where it is now. A junk yard, or is someone keeping it going?

There is an oil can and the spare tire decorating the street for now. After all, the tire has to come out of the trunk in order to get the repair tools.

We have fun photographing the whole scene, but it is time to move on and explore different cobbled streets. As we walk up the street, I see two cowboys, one with Continue reading 

Cuba 2015, 06

17 Mar
 

Cuba 2015, 06

Another early morning. More bag breakfasts arranged by our HavanaTur guide Edel. Six o’clock and onto the bus. Back to sleep/snooze while Tomas drives us southeast cross country from La Habana to the south coast of Cuba.

First stop is a coffee/bathroom break. It is always good to stretch legs, and everyone is awake at this point.

Our next real stop is Cienfuegos, literally, 100 fires. That said, it was named for a person, and whatever that history is, no one seems to know about the plethora of fires. Located on the large Bahia de Cienfuegos that is well protected from the Caribbean Sea by a long, narrow inlet, it is about 155 miles/250 kilometers southeast of La Habana.

Cienfuegos is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has not seen the ravages of time as has La Habana. The streets are wide and clean. Buildings are in good repair and painted. Shops are bustling and full of merchandise. One store catches my eye with a dishwasher or washing machine displayed alongside lights, microwaves, and other household goodies.© 2015 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail TBC (at) BCphotoadventures (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time, GMT-5.

A large pedestrian mall runs through the center of the city. People sit at cafés, chat on benches, peruse the shops, and even park their bikes. Men and their appreciation of the female form is certainly alive and well in Cuba as evidenced by this motorcycle.© 2015 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail TBC (at) BCphotoadventures (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time, GMT-5.

I see a lot of activity in one store and pop in. It is full of trays and trays of eggs. The eggs in Cuba are very fresh. What I found amazing is that when someone buys eggs, they are not packed in any sort of carton, rather loose in a bag. It would seem that there is a certainly amount of loss due to breakage between the store and home, wherever that might be. Even on the counter, you can see a few broken ones.© 2015 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail TBC (at) BCphotoadventures (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time, GMT-5.

Different countries have different public Continue reading 

Cuba 2015, 05

16 Mar
 

Cuba 2015, 05

Boxing and baseball. With soccer thrown in as a third, these are the two most popular sports in Cuba. Today, we visit one of the most important training gyms for boxing in the country.

But first, we walk. We walk and walk and walk. We poke our heads in here and there. There is an inviting courtyard inside yet another building. I have been in here before, but the part of the group that is with me has not.

Old houses three and four stories high have long been broken up into apartments. The buildings have seen better days, but everything is clean and neat. A water tank stands in the corner, clothes lines running everywhere. Some potted plants are at its base. For me, it makes a nice setting, while others are visiting with a family.© 2015 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail TBC (at) BCphotoadventures (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time, GMT-5.

They finish with their visit and photographs and return back out into the courtyard, and I meet the family with a couple more in our group. The son is making tooled-leather wallets, gluing the pieces together, the old Singer sewing machine in the background. There is no A/C in these parts of Cuba, so a fan peeks in at the edge, offering good air circulation.© 2015 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail TBC (at) BCphotoadventures (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time, GMT-5.

It is time for our appointment at the boxing gym. Five-time Cuban national champion, now retired but with reflexes as fast as ever, Nardo Mastre Flores Lucia is the head trainer at the gym. He recognizes Arnie and me and greets us warmly. A couple of the boxers, too, greet us, as this is our fourth visit to this gym with different groups.

Nilo, — none of us is quite sure of his name — also recognizes us. More hugs and kisses. We miss the woman boxer, however, whom we have come to know. Perhaps she is taking a day off. Off in one corner, on the other side of the ring, a new boxer, a woman from New Zealand, is starting her training.

It is time for the work-out to start. Nardo has them doing agility exercises, sparring exercises, and other techniques that will improve their boxing. He moves a foot here, does a demo with Nilo, clearly one of the top boxers there, to show the others how it is done. Our group spreads out for different vantage points, trying to stay out of others’ way.

The tape comes out, and Nilo wraps his hands.© 2015 Margo Taussig Pinkerton.  All Rights Reserved.  From Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures.  For usage and fees, please e-mail TBC (at) BCphotoadventures (dot) com or contact us at 310 Lafayette Drive, Hillsborough, NC  27278 or at 919-643-3036 before 9 p.m. east-coast time, GMT-5.

Our group gravitates to one side of the gym, and I get out of their way. I find some Continue reading